Wednesday, December 23, 1998

Little Mama Blues

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 1998 at 12:00 AM

If you have an appreciation for country music, particularly for the Southern root relationship it has to the blues, then you'll appreciate this CD.

This one isn't for blues purists, nor is it for fans of "butt-rockin' blues." There are no guitar pyrotechnics displayed here, although the woman can definitely work those strings to her best advantage. Forget about the flash and listen for a moment to her story. Sue Foley's ability to make her slowhand guitar serve as the perfect accompaniment to her country-folk voice is more than admirable.

Speaking of that voice, think Bob Dylan. The resemblance is more than a passing one. Similar to Dylan, Foley's voice is not going to appeal to everyone. It's not a trained voice, and for some it may take a little getting used to, but it's a vocal style that fits well with her musical mood.

Regardless of the fit, however, there will be those who cringe slightly at the occasional flat notes and lack of steamroller emotional power typically associated with most female blues vocalists, such as Etta James and Koko Taylor. Foley's approach is considerably more subtle, not just in how she sings but in what she sings about.

As a slender blonde with a Bob Dylan voice, Foley hardly fits the stereotypical model of the hard-livin' blues woman. She will never be called Big Mama Foley. But she will be recognized as someone whose songs are well-crafted, for real and from the heart.

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